“The American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest Movies was selected by AFI’s blue-ribbon panel of more than 1,500 leaders of the American movie community to commemorate 100 Years of Movies”. Every weekend(ish) during 2015, I’ll review two(ish), counting them down from 100 to 1.
“I don’t care how rich he is, as long as he has a yacht, his own private railroad car, and his own toothpaste.”
The vast majority of this AFI countdown has been filled with classics that I totally agree deserve their place on this list. Even movies I might not personally love, I can understand why others do, and respect that adoration and they’re inclusion on this top 100. But ever since I decided to make my way through this list, I have been dreading this title. Not only is Some Like it Hot crazily high on this list, it’s number one on the AFI’s Best Comedies list. Which is weird, because one of the only movies I can think of that’s less funny than Some Like it Hot, is the Wayans’ brothers remake, White Chicks. But, I committed to this countdown, so I was committed to once again being totally underwhelmed by the very not funny, Some Like it Hot.
It’s the 20s in Chicago, and after witnessing the St Valentine’s Day Massacre, club musicians Joe (Tony Curtiss) and Jerry (Jack Lemmon) are on the run from the mob. To escape town undetected, they throw on some dresses and makeup, and join an all girl show band headed for Florida. Now going by Josephine and Daphne, Joe and Jerry are both immediately infatuated with fellow band member, Sugar Kane Kowalczyk (Marilyn Monroe).
Things get complicated when they reach their destination as a rich, clueless playboy falls for Daphne/Jerry. While Joe takes on yet another alter ego, this time as an oil baron, to woo Sugar. But that’s only the beginning. When the Chicago gangsters arrive for a mafia convention, the mad cappery is really ratcheted up as Joe and Jerry struggle to keep track of their own multiple identities and who they should be in any given situation.
OK, comparing it to anything the Wayans’ brothers have ever done and declaring it “very not funny” is being way too harsh. Because Some Like it Hot does have more than few funny moments. And Lemmon, Curtis and Monroe are all fantastic. And Billy Wilder’s direction is great because he’s Billy Wilder. But I think that’s what made me resent this movie so much when it saw it for the first time six or seven years ago, and why I have been so trepidations about re-watching it now. It’s such a corny premise that it’s just a big waste of the potential of everyone in front of and behind the camera.
Best Director (Wilder nominated, lost to William Wyler for Ben-Hur)
Best Actor (Lemmon nominated, lost to Charlton Heston for Ben-Hur)
Best Adapted Screenplay (nominated, lost to Room at the Top)